Journal of Romance Studies

A tuberous fetish

The potato as protagonist in Claudia Llosa’s La teta asustada (2009)

Journal of Romance Studies (2021), 21, (2), 185–208.

Abstract

Peruvian director Claudia Llosa’s La teta asustada (2009) has often been analysed in academic literature. Such discussions frequently focus on the film’s central female character, Fausta, as a means either to critique the representation of indigenous Andean characters within the film or to celebrate themes of female empowerment. In contrast, this article provocatively suggests that a potato that Fausta inserts into her vagina is the true protagonist of the film. Drawing on the work of Karl Marx, Sigmund Freud and Laura U. Marks, it will be demonstrated that Fausta’s potato is an unusual tripartite fetish: a commodity; a materialization of psychical power; and an intercultural object imbued with agency. In this way, the article proposes that Llosa manipulates Peruvian cultural history in such a way that the film is rather more complex and ambiguous than it may at first appear.

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Filmography

Llosa, Claudia (dir.) (2006), Madeinusa. Google Scholar

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Details

Author details

Geraghty, Niall H.D.